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SIDNEY-SPENSER  January 2004

SIDNEY-SPENSER January 2004

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Subject:

FW: that belated dedication (fwd)

From:

Andrew Zurcher <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Sidney-Spenser Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 9 Jan 2004 20:57:14 +0000

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (123 lines)

[Forwarded from David Lee Miller]


1)  Very shrewd, Andrew, very shrewd.  I have doubts on one point, though,
and would like to hear your thoughts in response.

If I'm reading your suggestion correctly, you think Spenser may have read at
court while the poem was in press, so that the dedication was a belated
addition because it was added after a court reception that took place during
or after the printing of the first few title pages.  (On the whole question
of bits added during printing, btw, I recommend Joe Loewestein's essay
"Spenser's Retrography," in the biography collection edited by Judith
Anderson et al.)

If that suggestion is correct, however, then we would have to assume
(wouldn't we?) that Spenser initially intended for the poem to appear
without any mention of his name anywhere in the front matter.  Remember, his
name doesn't appear on the title page, but only on the verso under the
dedication.  In copies that don't have the dedication, it doesn't appear
anywhere in the volume until the end of the letter to Ralegh.  Before that
there's nothing, not even an "Immerito."

I can't imagine that Spenser seriously intended such a state of affairs at
any point in the publication process.

2)  There is also a more technical question about the states of the title
page.  In the excerpt you quote from Johnson, he's assuming that the version
of the title page with the date widely spaced (1 5 9 0) is the second
(revised) state.  But that's not a unanimous opinion.  Here's what the
catalogue of the Carl. H. Pforzheimer library has to say about one of their
copies:

"The date line of the imprint in this copy is widely spaced, the '1' of
'1590' being under the 'r' of 'for'.  Apparently it is the earlier state
[contra Johnson, you see] because if the compressed setting, which like the
present is off center, were the earlier then the obvious and natural thing
for a printer to do to re-center it would be to move the four digits, not to
space them.  It seems more likely, as well as simpler, that the compositor
first set the date widely spaced--a style which would be difficult to find
the like in Elizabethan printing--and, when told to close it up by the
corrector, merely removed the em spaces and pushed the type over to the
right." (The Carl H. Pforzheimer Library, p. 1002).

If the Pforzheimer bibliographers are right, then the whole argument about
perfecting in reverse order has to be abandoned.

  _____

David Lee Miller

Department of English                 543 Boonesboro Ave
University of Kentucky               Lexington, KY 40508
Lexington, KY 40506-0027     (859) 252-3680
(859) 257-6965
FAX  323-1072



-----Original Message-----
From: Sidney-Spenser Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Andrew Zurcher
Sent: Friday, January 09, 2004 4:53 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Reading to Queen Elizabeth


David and everyone,

With respect to the question of *when* Spenser may have read to the court,
or to Elizabeth, if indeed it ever happened, it may be helpful to remember
that some variants of the 1590 edition of _The Faerie Queene_ do not
include the full-page dedication to Elizabeth (signed 'Ed. Spenser') on
the verso of the title page. If F. R. Johnson is right, in _A Critical
Bibliography of the Works of Edmund Spenser Printed Before 1700_, in his
hypothesis that the sheets for this gathering were perfected in reverse
order (i.e.  that the inner forme, containing the blank/dedication page
was printed first, and the outer forme, containing the title page itself
was printed second, but in reverse order such that the earliest state of
the inner forme was joined to the latest state of the outer forme), it may
just be that the dedication to Elizabeth was inserted into the text at an
early stage of the printing. It is hard to imagine what might have
emboldened the hitherto anonymous poet to make such a grandiose, signed
dedication on the reverse of his title page, besides the explicit
authorization or extension of favor of a supportive monarch.


The relevant passage from Johnson is on page 15:

(c) Of the copies of the 1590 Faerie Queene existing today, the Harmsworth
copy seems to be unique in having the verso of the title-page blank,
without the dedication to Queen Elizabeth. A few other copies probably
existed at one time having this peculiarity, for this feature of certain
copies is noted in the _Bibliotheca Anglo-Poetica_, (London, 1815), p.
303. Note also the somewhat defective copy sold at Sotheby's on February
17, 1914, Lot 797, which was described as having the dedication to Queen
Elizabeth cut out and pasted on the verso of the title-page, which had
originally been blank. A check of the textual readings fo the Harmworth
copy reveals that it possesses the later, corrected state of most of the
sheets making up the volume. Furthermore, the title-page in this copy,
which belongs to the outer forme of the same sheet, has the date widely
spaced [i.e. 1 5 9 0, not 1590, as in the apparently first state of the
impression of the outer forme. -az], which in all probability represents
the _later_ state of that forme. If this is true, what we have in the
Harmsworth wopy is the earlier state of the inner forme of the outer sheet
of the A quire, combined with the later state of the outer forme of the
same sheet. This combination is what might be expected if the sheets were
perfected in reverse order, causing the first sheets printed of the inner
forme to be the last to be perfected.


andrew


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Andrew Zurcher
Gonville & Caius College
Cambridge CB2 1TA
United Kingdom
tel: +44 1223 335 427

hast hast post hast for lyfe

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